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1/2/08

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Normally I wouldn't stoop this low for a film, I have thousands of other movies I'd rather watch. I'd usually never even think about watching a straight-to-Nickelodeon movie. But these were special circumstances.

You see, I'm a huge Savage Steve Holland fan. Anybody that created Better Off Dead, one of my all-time-favorite films, gets a lifetime pass. He also created two extremely funny, but mostly-forgotten flicks; One Crazy Summer and How I Got Into College.

It's been nearly twenty years since he directed a feature length film. For some reason he's been stuck in TV hell, directing tween schlock like Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire, becoming one of Nickelodeon's go to guys. I don't know how this movie came together, don't really care, don't even remember how I saw that he was involved. (Probably on a random trip to his IMDb page.) But here I was so desperate for anything Savage Steve that I rented something called Shredderman Rules.

This TV movie is about Nolan Byrd, a mild-mannered, teen nerd with great ambitions. His opportunity comes when his beloved town park is being closed by the school bully's father, who wants to turn it into a sewage plant. Nolan uses his mad Internet skills, under the alias of Shredderman, to oust the evil-doers, save the day and win the girl. A completely boring and straight-as-an-arrow plot. Nothing about it intrigued me in the least. But of course I'm about twenty-years beyond the intended viewing age.

Blessedly the film is short and not too brain-numbingly painful. Tim Meadows, Curtis Armstrong, and Mindy Sterling offer some brief moments of comic-relief. Dave Coulier, of Full House fame, serves up his usual lame attempts at humor, as Shredderman's dad. The kid in the lead role isn't horrible, but not a great discovery either. The best performance in the film is by the kid playing the bully, not realistic, but so-over-the-top cartoony that he has a couple of good moments.

So how was it from the Savage Steve Holland angle? Mostly unnoticeable... if I hadn't known he directed this, I never would have guessed. There are a couple of fun camera moves and a brief bit of animation, but mostly it looks and plays like the sad TV movie it is. I don't know if he was reigned in by his Nickelodeon producers or if he's lost it over the years, I'm hoping it's the former.

Looking at his IMDb page,
there seems to be a sudden influx of new projects in the works for him, maybe Shredderman was worth something, if it lead to this. Legally Blondes a straight-to-video sequel to the okay chick-flick, which I'll probably also stoop to watching simply for S.S.H.'s involvement. He also has a National Lampoon film called Ratko: The Dictator's Son, which sounds a little better, but the National Lampoon films have been terrible for decades, so I'm not holding out too much hope. Most exciting is a film called The Big One 3, which according to the link might be something of a return to form, an original feature film, written by the man himself. Sounds promising!

So... maybe if you're an unimaginative eight-year-old you could enjoy Shredderman Rules, otherwise don't bother. Unless you're completely hard-up for something new from S.S.H., and I mean like jonzing-for-heroin bad, but even then you're better off watching one of his original three for the 20th time or waiting and wishing for The Big One 3 to pan out.



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